By Alec Nathan
September 20, 2017 —
A group of current and former NFL players wrote a letter to commissioner Roger Goodell and executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent in August asking them to actively support their campaign for racial equality and criminal justice reform.
The memo, which was obtained by Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson on Wednesday, is endorsed by Philadelphia Eagles teammates Malcolm Jenkins and Torrey Smith, Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett and recently retired wide receiver Anquan Boldin.
“Our focus has been to identify and place our efforts on the key areas of reform where our influence and support can make a meaningful difference in the community,” the group wrote. “Those include prioritizing Criminal Justice Reform and Police/Community Relations Engagement.”
In a separate portion of the letter entitled “Call to Action,” the players outlined their expectations for Goodell and Vincent should they commit resources to the cause.
“To be clear, we are asking for your support,” they wrote. “We appreciate your acknowledgment on the call regarding the clear distinction between support and permission. For us, support means: bear all or part of the weight of; hold up; give assistance to, especially financially; enable to function or act. We need support, collaboration and partnerships to achieve our goal of strengthening the community.”
Read the entire Memo at: RE: Player Activism for Racial Equality and Criminal Justice Reform
Support, the players noted, could come in varying degrees at either the federal, state and local levels.
Furthermore, the letter contains a section outlining a request for leaguewide support that would allow all 32 teams to devote resources to initiatives in their local communities.
Specifically, there’s a request for the league to make November “a month of Unity for individual teams to engage and impact the community in their market” the same way it has championed breast cancer awareness and recognized the military with month-long campaigns during the regular season.
On Wednesday, the Eagles released a 12-minute video documenting a trip Goodell took to Philadelphia Sept. 12 alongside Jenkins, Smith, Boldin and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to meet with police and local officials “to get a better understanding of the complexities of the criminal justice reform work that many of the players have been conducting over the past year to strengthen the community.”
Related: Color of Change Petition
Tell the NFL: Support Players’ Platform for Racial Equality and Criminal Justice Reform